Mesmerising visitors with its picture-perfect sights, the Inle Lake Region is a refreshing change to the historical attractions of Pagan and Mandalay. It boasts of the picturesque Inle l.ake, the fascinating Pindaya Caves and the cool and colourful hill towns of Taunggyi and Kalaw. Another unique and different facet of the Golden Land.
Nestled among the hazy Shan Mountains, 900 metres above sea level, its glassy blue waters running 14.5 km in length and 6.44 km in breadth is the picturesque Inle Lake - certainly one of the most magical sights in South East Asia. The lake is not only a beautiful sight to enjoy, but also practical home to the native Inthas (sons of the lake), who live on the lakes in stilt houses with their neatly cultivated floating farms and nurseries. The truly unique Inle Lake leg-rowers and fishermen cannot be missed as you glide through the waters on your boats on a dream-like adventure. The presence of many ethnic groups in the area also makes it a captivating place of much cultural interest. The main attraction of Inle Lake is the famous Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda situated in the middle of the lake. Every October, both local and foreign pilgrims and visitors would flock to the Pagoda for its annual festival.
A splendid cool, pine-clad natural resort, 1460 metres above sea level, is the vibrant town of Taunggyi - capital of the Shan State. A nice place to relax, do nothing, enjoy strawberries and the sight of colourfully dressed hill tribes people.
Kalaw is another peaceful and tranquil summer resort, 71 kilometres west of Taunggyi. Beautiful and cool with fragrant pinewoods and lovely walks. Catch the Shan, Padaung, Palaung and Pa O people in their striking costumes.
About 45 kilometres from Kalaw is Pindaya; it is a small quiet town perched on the bank of the placid Botoloke Lake. The Pindaya Caves; containing is a huge cavern where hundreds and thousands of Buddha images in various size and shape are installed since the 11th century. The winding galleries and nooks and corners are ideal places of insight meditation since the olden days is best known for. Inside the limestone caves are seated thousands of Buddha images, some of which are hundreds of years old. You can listen to the resounding tones as bamboo poles are used to strike different stalagmites and stalactites. Stand at the entrance to the caves and enjoy an impressive panoramic view of the open country scene. Huge monastery compounds with numerous pagodas and temples in different stages of dilapidation are much respected by such ethnic groups as the Shans. Danus and Paos living in the environs of Pindaya. Pindaya Cave The ancient caves are about one mile southwest of the town. and can be reached by taking a horse-cart. or motoring there by jeep or just walking along on foot. Except for the young and energetic. the best way is to go leisurely be horse-cart to the foot of the hills. reserving your energy for the 200 steps up the covered stairway leading to the cave entrance and for exploring the huge meandering maze made up of numerous caves. The caves are supposed to be 200.00 million years old and since ancient times they have been places of worship and veneration with 8.094 Buddha images made from various materials like teak wood. marble. alabaster. brick. cement and lacquer. and all enshrined in the nooks and corners of the winding caverns. At the entrance to the main cave thee is a pagoda 50 feet in height. This pagoda is called Shwe U-min Hpaya or the Golden Cave pagoda.
The festival of Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is usually held during October. The festival takes about 18 days. It is the biggest occasion held in the Inle Lake¸ Shan State. The festival is held with great magnificence and pageantry. The holy Buddha's images are placed on a decorated royal barge and towed by leg-rowers around the lake. There are also Shan traditional boat races participated by leg-rowers. People from all the villages nearby come to pay homage to the Images.